Sunday, October 6, 2013

The Sham of Senate Civility

After the attempted assassination of former Representative Gabrielle Giffords (D-AZ 8th), there were calls for civility in political discourse.  In the aftermath of the Tucson shooting,Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said:

Being more mindful of the weight of our words always helps. We have much more to gain than to lose from civility and discretion. …

Some may be inspired by the town halls of two Augusts ago. Others by the heated election debates. Some may be motivated by the conversation that started after Arizona. And many will seek more civility simply because it’s the right thing to do. Whatever the reason, I hope the turn to more responsible rhetoric is more than empty rhetoric. I intend to do my part.

But what Democrats really meant by civility seems to be to silence their ideological opponents with the cudgel of civility via the Lamestream Media without moderating their raucous rhetoric or correcting their faux pas. 

A recent example of this incongruity between rhetoric and reality was Senator Reid's recent call for civil discourse on the Senate floor.  The Senate Democrat Majority Leader had called House Speaker John Boehner a coward for not standing up to anarchists in his own party who Reid implied precipitated the Federal Government shutdown.   Reid also derided his colleague Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) as the "very junior Senator from Texas"  who was acting as the "Joint House Speaker."

Yet Senator Reid lectured the Senate about decorum:

We all have to understand that these rules create a little bit of distance so senators are more likely to debate ideas and less likely to talk about personalities. And if we do that, we maintain a more civil decorum as a result. So I bring this matter to the attention of senators because we've fallen out of this habit. It's gotten worse the last month or so.
To be fair, Senator Reid kind of apologized for his harsh words by intoning:  "Some recent stories have even suggested that the speaker is keeping the government shut down because I hurt his feelings. If that's true, I'm sorry that I hurt your feelings."  

So it's OK to capture headlines and slander your opponents, and then give a tentative mea culpa "if I hurt your feelings"?  Where does someone go to get their reputation back?

Reid advocated not mentioning other Senators by their first names and addressing their colleagues in the third person.  This Senate Speak, a District of Calamity (sic) patois which Senator John McCain (R-AZ) has mastered  forces the speaker to call enemies "My Friends" before rhetorically excoriating them.  No wonder why so many ordinary people are turned off by politics. 

Senator Cruz has been the target of Democrats derision in the Federal Government Shutdown fight.  Cruz gave a short floor speech which exposed this Sham of Senate Civility to conceal political perfidy.

There has been a concerted effort in the Lamestream Media to discredit Ted Cruz as just advancing his own presidential ambitions by prominently fighting for defunding Obamacare.  This scathing critique comes from Democrats as well as Cocktail Party Republicans who understand the earnestness of Tea Party conservatives who threaten their cushy situations.  Establishment Republicans are content to go along to get along, cast symbolic votes which they can sell to their primary voters but do not mean anything.

While Cruz may leverage his prominence in the Shutdown fight for the 2016 Presidential race, he is also living up to his role to represent constituents who are fed up with the status quo and the meaningless games politicos in Washington play rather than fight for their ideals. Civilly telling the truth is a rarity between the beltways these days. 

It is beyond the pale of propriety to characterize Tea Party types like Senator Cruz as anarchists for standing up for the Constitution. But the hostility towards such honest oratory from Tea Party politicians is revealing.  

 In the face of totalitarian influences across the globe, George Orwell opined:  "The further a society drifts away from the truth,  the more it will hate those that speak it."  In a similar vein, the author of 1984 also  wrote: "During times of universal deceit, telling the truth becomes a revolutionary act." 

Maybe Senator Reid's crie-de-coeur will be heard on the other end of Pennsylvania Avenue, where outrageous Obama incivility now seems to be an everyday occurrence 

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